The very first restaurant to typify the modern fast food genre was White Castle, who opened their first location in 1916 in Witchita, USA. Ironically, at the time fast food was considered to be a more transparent type of restaurant service because customers could watch their food being prepared while they waited. In 1948, McDonald's adopted the same model, and began their expansion as the restaurant that we know today. In 1958 they sold their 100 millionth hamburger; when, in 1994, McDonalds sold their 100 billionth hamburger they simply stopped counting. The importance of fast food to the history of meat is that much like industrial farms and long-distance shipping and trade it introduced yet another layer of separation between farm and food, further abstracting the final meat product from the animal that provided it.
Image via comtemplative imaging (Flickr)